Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh (Find this book in our catalog.)
It’s nice to be reading and laughing over a book that nearly everyone else I know is reading and laughing over, as though as a reader, I am finally a part of a shared literary community. This is one of those books about which your friends might ask, “And did you read the part about…?” And more laughs erupt. Drawn from her blog of the same name, Brosh lays out for us in a kind of memoir just what the subtitle says: memories of lots of mayhem, failure, limited successes, unfortunate adventures and various other misadventures, and then most of all, lots of laughs. The illustrations are a hoot as well.
Some of Brosh’s life misadventures include her insatiable appetite for cake that deeply impacts her decision to go after her grandfather’s birthday cake even if it is not the best decision for a sugar-sensitive, hyperactive child. But who ever said children had good judgment? The goose story is another memorable tale when a wild goose enters her house and terrorizes her for a number of, well, it seems like days, but it is most likely a little less than that. Her various episodes with her dogs are probably the funniest, with Simple Dog and Helper Dog, neither one of which has much to offer in the way of redeeming qualities. But both have found a loving home with Brosh and reward her in turn fully, keeping in their dog minds the truism that “No good deed goes unpunished.”
Not all of the subjects discussed in this memoir are laughing matters, as when Brosh explores her bout with depression in ways that are not funny at all but actually terrifying and very real to the readers. She describes desperately trying to seem all right, wondering if her smile looks real as someone tells her some good news or of her feeling of absolute immobilization as she lies abed for hours on end or dwells in corners. We are all relieved when she climbs out of that horror of her life.
Most of all, readers will find a humanity in her stories. Exaggerated as they may seem, maybe things really did happen that way, because after all, isn’t life like that?
D. L. S.